Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Stories are wonderful things.  I love to read, fiction, non-fiction, biographies....pretty much everything.  Talented authors can create whole new worlds.  They can explore human emotions, and help us understand ourselves and others.  They can help us understand our past; where we come from and where we're going.  Talented authors can make us think.  Books are wonderful things.

But, there are stories in places other than books.  Some people can find stories in the rocks of the earth (something I wish I could read better).  Some people can find stories in their own imaginations.  Yesterday, I was able to find stories in a wonderful friend who took me with him to chase cows.

This friend is an 80-something horseman, cattleman, and gentleman.  He's lived in this valley all his life (except for a 4 year period when he served in the Air Force).  He invited me to go with him to look for some of his cattle on the mountain near our little town.  He, and his family, have grazing leases for his cattle on the National Forest land up there.  The cows, and their calves, graze on the mountain grass all summer; but when the weather starts to get colder, they come down the mountain to the pastures that sit at the base of the mountain and are moved to the desert grazing areas.  Some of the cows need a bit of "encouragement" to leave the we took our horses and looked for them to head them down. 

It was a beautiful day; cool and sunny, with a very slight breeze.  It was fantastic to be out on a horse.  I enjoyed the ride, the weather, and the beautiful scenery.  But most of all, I enjoyed the stories my riding partner told.  He told me about growing up in the valley.  He told me how his great-great grandfather drove a herd of cows across the plains as a part of the great-Mormon migration, arriving in the Salt Lake Valley in the 1850s.  He talked about his fascination with cattle brands; and how his family has several generations of registered brands, starting with that great-great grandfather.  We talked about how different it is to run cattle on the mountain in these days of regulation and paperwork.  He told me about his experiences riding the range as a young man and packing what he needed on a horse.  His stories were fascinating, funny, poignant and proud.  I loved those stories. 

We should do everything we can to capture the stories that folks like my cattleman friend can tell.  They're too important to forget, and to wonderful to lose.


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